PhD opening in Human Robot Interaction

The HIT Lab NZ at the Canterbury University (Christchurch, New Zealand) has the following vacancy for a PhD student:

Understanding Anthropomorphism and Animacy In The Interaction Between Users and Robots

Project description

Robots that interact with humans are becoming increasingly important in our society. However, their life-like appearance and behavior is challenging their acceptance. In this project will establish new fundamental understanding of the role that anthropomorphism and animacy play in the behavior of robots when interacting with users. Methods will include the design, implementation and evaluation of a computational model of anthropomorphism and animacy in a robot. This model will enable robots to adapt their behavior to the user at an adequate level of perceived anthropomorphism and animacy, similar to the way adults adapt their behavior when interacting with children. Research outcomes will demonstrate how robots can match their interaction behavior with their abilities to perform tasks.


The student will have a background in one or more of computer science, mechatronics, Human Computer Interaction, Human Robot Interaction, psychology, interaction design or a relevant related field. The student should have a keen interest in conducting outstanding research and should be able to structure his/her own work process. The candidate must be able to co-operate in a multidisciplinary and international team in which English is the main language

The HIT Lab NZ

The Human Interface Technology Laboratory New Zealand (HIT Lab NZ) is world leading research institutions developing and commercializing technology that improves human computer interaction. The HIT Lab NZ has over 50 staff and students and has extensive experience in Human Computer Interaction and Human Robot Interaction. The HIT Lab NZ is located at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand. The University of Canterbury has the top Engineering School in New Zealand, including a highly ranked Department of Computer Science. For more information about the HIT Lab NZ see

Christchurch is the second largest city in New Zealand and offers an exciting and easy lifestyle for students. It is the most affordable major city to live in. It easy to get around whether you are biking, walking, driving or using the excellent public transport system. Christchurch also offers outstanding opportunities for outdoor activities, and is close to both surf beaches and ski-fields.

Appointment and Scholarship Support

The appointment is full time for a duration of three years. As a student at the University of Canterbury, you will be eligible for a scholarship that will pay for the intuition fees and will provide additional support for accommodation, living expenses and travel. Scholarships are available for domestic and interactional students and are subject to approval. Assistance for finding accommodation can be given. The research in this project must be concluded with writing a PhD thesis within the Human Interface Technology PhD program of the HIT Lab NZ. For more information about the PhD program in Human Interface Technology, please see

Further Information and Application

Further information can be obtained by contacting Christoph Bartneck ( Information about the HIT Lab NZ is available at:

Please upload your application as one PDF file at Your application must include a letter explaining your specific interest in the project, an extensive curriculum vitae, your academic records, and a list of three references. Applications will be accepted until November 1st, 2011or until position is filled.

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